There are rising concerns about the possibility of another pandemic after a group of French scientists revived a “zombie virus” that had been frozen under a lake in Russia for a record 50,000 years. Scientists revived some “zombie viruses” from the Siberian permafrost in order to properly study other awakening viruses that are being revived by global warming.
According to the preliminary report, global warming is irreversibly melting a large portion of the permafrost, which is permanently frozen ground that covers one-fourth of the Northern Hemisphere. As a result, organisms that have been frozen for up to a million years are being released, including potentially harmful pathogens.
Inside the organic matter that was revived, the scientists noted that there were “viruses that remained dormant since prehistorical times.” In a report from the Sun, it was noted that Professor Jean-Michel Claverie of Aix-Marseille University (co-author of the study) warned medical authorities about the insufficient updates on “live” viruses in the permafrost.
The study noted that it would falsely indicate that they are not a threat. The study, overseen by microbiologist Jean-Marie Alempic at the French National Center for Scientific Research, states that it would be far more terrible if an ancient, unknown virus reappeared and spread disease to humans, animals, and plants.
There are thirteen revived viruses outlined in the study, which have not yet undergone peer review. Pandoravirus yedoma is the oldest and was found at the bottom of a lake in Yukechi Alas in Yakutia, Russia. It is 48,500 years old, which is a record for the length of time it takes for a frozen virus to thaw and get back to the point where it might potentially infect other organisms.
The previous record-holder was a virus found in Siberia in 2013 that had been around for 30,000 years. The other viruses have been discovered in a variety of places, including mammoth fur and a Siberian wolf’s gut. All “zombie viruses” were found to be infectious after the scientists studied the thirteen viruses, thus making them a “health threat.” This further sparks concern about the possibility of more pandemics as global warming continues to thaw the permafrost, releasing more organic matter.
Watch the video of the “zombie virus” below.